Assembly Utilities and Energy Chief Consultant, Mary McDonald, Announces Retirement

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sacramento, CA – The  California State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy Committee announced the retirement of Chief Consultant, Mary McDonald, effective November 3, 2020. Laura Shybut will assume the position of Chief Consultant on December 1, 2020.

“I am deeply saddened to see Mary leave the position,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy. “Mary brought to the position a wealth of expertise and understanding of the intricacies in both the electric system operation and the legislative process. She has been a terrific asset to the Committee and will be sorely missed.” 

McDonald previously worked for the California Independent System Operator as Director of State Affairs and prior to that position she served as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs for the California Power Exchange.

“It is a pleasure to welcome back to the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee Laura Shybut where she started her time at the Capitol as a Science Fellow,” said Holden. “Laura’s analytical mind and expertise on the legislative processes makes her a perfect fit in the position of Chief Consultant.” 

Laura Shybut is currently the Chief of Staff to Senator Jerry Hill.  In Senator Hill’s Office, she staffed legislation to ensure federal tax savings the utilities received from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 would be passed back to ratepayers; legislation requiring corporate safety reviews before CPUC approval of utilities’ mergers or acquisitions; and legislation to hold PG&E accountable for required changes as part of their bankruptcy, as well as creating a pathway for formation of Golden State Energy. 

Shybut also served as consultant on the Subcommittee on Gas, Electric, and Transportation Safety while in Senator Hill’s office, where she held five informational hearings on various topics of gas and electric safety. She received her Ph.D and MS in Chemistry from the University of Oregon. She completed a master’s certificate at Banaras Hindu University in India, and her BS in Chemistry at Lyon College in Arkansas.